BenitoLink is just beginning its annual fundraising campaign, the “Pledge of Champions” which is one of the ways this nonprofit news website finances news coverage for San Benito County. In this fund drive, which runs until Dec. 31, individuals in the community donate on the BenitoLink website in amounts that range from $10 to over $1,000. Our current amount donated is $5,970. Our donors know, even if they commute out of the county each day, that having basic information about their home community is essential. We also are very fortunate to have national support from organizations that recognize the importance of news and information when it comes to civic involvement. During the Pledge of Champions, each donation will be doubled up to $35,000, thanks to foundations like the Institute for Nonprofit News and our wonderful local major donors. But demonstrating community-based support is important- not just financially but also because it shows funders that our residents are committed to having an informed and engaged community.
The bulk of these funds are spent on the core BenitoLink staff, our news and feature reporters, copy editor, graphic artists, and bookkeeper. The staff is made up of the executive director, the content manager and the social media and marketing director. Our executive director is responsible for developing and establishing the financial support for BenitoLink. The content manager reviews and organizes all the stories that reporters and community members have produced and decides which ones have top priority. Our marketing and social media director helps get the message out about BenitoLink in many ways including our weekly newsletter, facebook, instagram, and twitter. We will be introducing some of the recent work by our reporter team in the coming weeks.
Over the last year, with the help of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, the Community Foundation for San Benito County and United Way of San Benito County, we have expanded our internship and young adult training program. This is largely funded through foundation grants and major sponsors and focuses on helping high school and college-age youth learn professional skills. They become more attractive to business and we benefit from the their unique perspectives while building new community relationships.
Finally, and most importantly, is our reporter team which works very hard producing stories every day for our readers. The more funding we can procure each year, the more we can cover the growing number of daily stories popping up in our county but it also means we can take time to produce investigative and in-depth articles that take additional time to research.
BenitoLink depends on you, our reader, to help support local news and make sure San Benito County continues to have a factual, non-partisan and thought-provoking media environment.